The Times-Tribune

Senator: Recall exploding e-cigarettes

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NEW YORK — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is increasing the heat on the federal government to consider recalling e-cigarette batteries and devices that explode and catch fire, injuring users.

Mr. Schumer, a New York Democrat, has called e-cigarettes “ticking time bombs” and said they continue to cause injuries, including severe burns.

At a press conference Sunday, Mr. Schumer cited a recent Associated Press story saying the FDA identified about 66 explosions in 2015 and early 2016 after recording 92 explosions from 2009 to September 2015.

He said he wants the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the U.S. Food and Drug Administra­tion to figure out why so many devices, many from China, are exploding. He said the recent injuries are proof federal action is needed.

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and that seems to be the case — again and again — for many popular e-cigarettes that have injured dozens of people,” Mr. Schumer said. “With any other product, serious action would have been taken and e-cigarettes should be no exception. Despite the explosions, no recalls have been issued. It’s radio silence from both the industry and the feds, so that’s why I’m sounding the alarm.”

E-cigarette user Katrina Williams, a New York freight manager, said she wanted a safer alternativ­e to smoking regular tobacco cigarettes and thought e-cigarettes were the answer — until one exploded in her pocket in April as she drove home from a beauty salon.

“It was like a firecracke­r,” she said, as it seared thirddegre­e burns in her leg, blasted through her charred pants and stuck in the dashboard.

As the use of e-cigarettes has increased over the past year, similar painful accidents have been recorded with greater frequency, with faulty lithium-ion batteries seen as the likely culprits.

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